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Coach McVay Back At Work In Prep For Super Bowl LVI

“Post-Game” Transcript Covers Key Areas To Address

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

(East Los Angeles, CA) February 2, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The 2021-2022 version of the Los Angeles Rams has now made it all the way to the top of the Sports World’s Mt. Everest, but as we know, there is just the biggest game of all left to be played. And what a way to end the season’s main goals and objectives but to play in Super Bowl LVI. And in whose house will it be played? We all certainly know that answer. [Special Note From The Editor]: We will publish our Championship Game piece on Thursday, 2/3. Many Thanks for your patience!

So in immediate preparation for the game-of-games, we feature once again our dedicated piece of Rams coverage, by sharing with all of our followers, supporters, and readers of all things Rams, the “Day-After” post-game remarks of Head Coach, Sean McVay.


Photo Credit: East L.A. Sports Scene

(On how much emphasis will he put on avoiding mistakes and penalties during the Super Bowl)…“It’s going to be big. I love the way that we were able to overcome some things, but we know to be able to finish this deal and get a win against an excellent Bengals team in a couple weeks, we got to do a great job playing clean football, being sharp with our communication in both phases, offensively, defensively. But just overall looking to play really clean, tough, physical brand of football – offense, defense and in the kicking game.”

Photo/Image Credit: Los Angeles Rams

(On last time his team was in the Super Bowl he contributed the loss to him overcoaching – what did he mean by that and what he learned from that that he would take forward)…“Well first of all, I thought New England did a great job. (We) definitely could have done a much better job of being more flexible throughout the course of the game and get into some things sooner. And that’s kind of what I alluded to. And then, I think it’s just making sure that you allocate the next couple weeks – and this is even a little bit different because we are at home and we’ll be able to keep somewhat of a rhythm and routine that’s in alignment with a normal week. (We’re) figuring out the best way to navigate through those things. But I think it’s making decisions, being clear with the players with the expectations and part of the game plans that we want to be able to carry and not really spending two weeks to tweak it, but kind of get something set. You’re always going to just fine tune a little bit here and there, but probably didn’t do a good enough job of really kind of making sure that you really try to treat that first week where you’re getting the game plan in. And then the following week really represents just making little tweaks, but still keeping the foundational parts of what you installed the previous week. That was important because you travel, you’re out there for a week and there was a lot of other distractions and you kind of wanted to get that finalized and set. It’s a little bit different situation and circumstance, but certainly any previous experience you can always use as a learning op(portunity) and to apply the things that are going to be the most beneficial for us to try to go win this game.”

(On holding the 49ers to 50 rushing yards and what did his team do differently this time as opposed to the first time they played the 49ers this season)…“Well our guys played great. I thought (Defensive Coordinator) Raheem (Morris) and the defensive coaches put together a great game plan. And then I thought we were really physical at the point of attack. We played with some heavier box counts. I thought (DB) Eric Weddle really showed up with his ability to be able to navigate through traffic, make a lot of close quarter tackles, but thought we were physical on the front. I thought the secondary and our DBs (played well). I thought everybody just played physical, but we committed more guys to the run front. You saw some just heavier runs front structures from us yesterday and (I) thought the guys did a great job executing. To hold a team like that to 50 yards is an outstanding accomplishment.”

Photo Credit: East L.A. Sports Scene

(On how long did it take him to stop feeling numb after the Super Bowl LIII loss to the Patriots and what has been the process of possibly using that as fuel to get back to the Super Bowl.)…“I think as you accumulate experience and you use it the right way – we talk to our players all the time, repetition is the mother of learning. And it’s no different for coaches. And you talk about managing the game or making decisions as a play caller and how you put together a game plan to try to help put your players in the right situations. And so, I thought (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick and those guys did a better job than I did for our team that night. And that’s why I said those things. I think as far as how you get over it – that was a big deal – but it’s always a part of what you remember, but you do have to allow yourself to be able to move on, but you definitely don’t want to minimize the learning lessons that can be had from it if you apply it in the right way. And those are things that whether it was a Super Bowl or really any game – even some of the things that occurred yesterday – you want to just continually learn from both the good and the bad, have a short memory. But also make sure that you’re looking back on those things as an opportunity to not make the same mistakes twice seemed.”

(On if there’s a place he goes mentally that helps him relax)…“I think what you’ve learned is you want to be inside-out. The opinions – I’m very appreciative of the platform that you guys enable for our league to be so successful and to be so popular. But I do try to guard myself from allowing the outside-in opinions to affect the way that you operate on a day-to-day basis. I have total respect and appreciation for the job that you guys have, but the opinions that I’m concerned with are the people that I work with closely every single day that know the ins and outs. I’m going to make mistakes, but I think you have to be comfortable enough in your own skin to be able to own those mistakes and be able to move forward, have that accountability you hear me talk about all the time. And I think the criticism is just part of being in these leadership roles. Definitely you kind of get callous to it a little bit, but I also think one of the best ways is you kind of try to stay ignorant to it. You try to minimize having stuff that can put it in your being that just isn’t good energy and good positive vibes. And so, I do kind of try to stay more inside-out than anything else. I’ve done a much better job these last couple years of kind of guarding against it, where you look at kind of the national stuff.”

Photo/Image Credit: Los Angeles Rams

(On any injury updates and what TE Tyler Higbee’s status is)…“(TE Tyler) Higbee is really the only one that we’re working through some different avenues. He got an MCL sprain there. He’s such a tough guy. We’re going to do everything in our power to try to get this guy back and ready to go. But we are working through some things, but it was an MCL sprain that he sustained yesterday or suffered. Everybody else, just your typical bumps and bruises. (S) Taylor Rapp is looking like he’s turning the corner in a positive way. And so, it was good. It’ll be good to kind of figure out how we want to utilize these next couple weeks to try to get some guys that have played a lot of football, that are banged up as healthy as possible for the 13th. But the only guy from yesterday’s game that his game status could be in doubt for the Super Bowl would be ‘Higs’, but we’re taking that a day time.”

(On if he feels like a veteran in this Super Bowl run compared to last)…“You’ve got more experience, but (Bengals Head Coach) Zac (Taylor) was a part of that last Super Bowl with this team too. We have a shared ownership that exists amongst our coaching staff. So he’s been through those things. He’s accumulated great experience at other places that he’s been and he’s done a phenomenal job these last few years with these guys. And so, I don’t know that you look at it like that. I think you look at it as you have a tremendous amount of knowledge and respect for what Zac brings to the table and (he has) done a great job surrounding himself with a great staff. That’s why they’re in this position, but we want to do everything in our power to try to use these next couple weeks the right way and then let the players go do their thing on the field.”

(On how DB Eric Weddle has been able to come back and play so well)…“It’s outstanding. I’m not surprised. It’s just one of those deals that, for him to be able to pull this off and what he’s done, the juice, the energy, the leadership that he’s brought over the last couple weeks has been palpable. I’ve loved having him around. (I) love Eric Weddle. I know (his) teammates love him. What he’s done, playing as many snaps as he has the last couple weeks, it’s incredible. It’s remarkable. But if there was anybody that was going to be able to do it would be him. His knowledge of the game, his instincts, his natural toughness, his feel, all those things were on display yesterday. He would be the first to tell you, there’s a couple things that we can clean up, but I thought he played a great game. I thought the second-and-one tackle that he had that got him to third-and-two was one of the biggest plays of the game. Then we end up getting to stop on third down and then they tried to get us to jump offsides on fourth down. But that play on second-and-one, if you just watch the way that he was able to, have the concept recognition, trigger in the backfield and get it for a minus one, it was some great stuff. He’s been awesome. It’s a great story. It is a great story. It’s almost like some movie stuff that you would write, but he’s really doing it in real life.”

(On if any players are expected to return from injury)…“Yeah, that’s a good question. (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and I kind of started (talking about it). We’ll talk about that. There’s definitely a possibility. I want to make sure that I sit down and hit those guys about how they’re feeling before anything becomes official, but I definitely am not closing the door on the possibility of those three guys being able to participate.”

Photo/Image Credit: Los Angeles Rams

(On what he was being advised on during his two challenges)…“So, the accountability lies with me. The first one with the quarterback sneak, it was not a great decision by me. It was kind of one of those (that) you’re hopeful, you see the side shot of it. Going back to Arizona, where we ended up challenging the one on the QB sneak, you’re kind of hopeful that if they give you the top down shot that maybe it goes through. But that one was totally on me. And then the other one, it looked like it was kind of a bang-bang play. In the flow of the game, there was a possibility that we thought there was a fumble there. (I would) do that one a little bit differently, but ultimately those decisions are my responsibility. I’ve gotten great information all year. Those guys do a great job. In those instances yesterday (it) didn’t work out, but there’s nobody that’s responsible other than myself. And like we talked about kind of earlier in this conversation, you got to be able to learn from it. Fortunately, it didn’t hurt us. But it is important to be able to have those timeouts in your back pocket if you need those and being a little bit smarter with those challenges that was something I didn’t do a great job for us with yesterday.”

(On using challenges as learning opportunities…“There’s no question. You use the other 31 – the teams, the inventory, all the information that you have at your disposal – because they’re still playing the same game. These are all applicable situations. If the roles were reversed, I would’ve done the same thing (49ers Head Coach) Kyle (Shanahan) did. It was a 17-14 game, but they had good momentum. They had been playing well. It was a hard-fought game. Where you’re at in that situation when you’re up three—and it wasn’t like it was a one, this was a long two. We had done a good job defensively and felt like that was what they were going to try to do. I probably would’ve done the same thing if I was in Kyle’s role. But you definitely want to use the other examples as learning ops without a doubt, to answer your original question.”

(On if he has worked out the practice schedule for the next two weeks and if there are any pitfalls he has to address)…“To answer the first part, yeah, we’re definitely talking about the scheduling and how we want to allocate our time over the next couple weeks without it getting stale. And kind of like what I was answering earlier on in this conversation, it’s a little bit different, when (a media member) asked the question about what you learned different than when we went to Atlanta a couple years ago, because you try to get everything done before you have to travel. Well, we don’t have to travel. We’re able to stay in our facilities, do all those things. And so, being able to manage the next couple weeks, getting our players refreshed, but making sure that they feel as confident and as ready to go when the 13th hits without any monotony setting in – that’s kind of that delicate balance. But (we) have laid out some initial plans that we’re kind of fine tuning right now. And then as far as the pitfalls, I think it’s great to be able to stay in the normal rhythm and routine. I think what you also don’t want to minimize is, what a special thing, this is. Allow our guys to be able to enjoy it, understand where the focus is, but when you have all the people coming in from out of town, making sure you kind of get all those things taken care of. They’re not a distraction at the house, or however people want to be able to handle it, but those would be some of the things that it’s a blessing to be able to be at home, but you also want to make sure that the magnitude of this game, even though we are playing at our home stadium in our home city, it doesn’t take away from the focus of finishing the task at hand. And that’s trying to get one more win.”

(On if there is anything that stands out as an underrated turning point)…“There’s so many. There’s so many things that I could really point to. If you’re just talking about just additions, you look at some of the guys that have had to step up kind of like what was asked after the game yesterday. The (ILB Travin) T Howard’s of the world, the (TE) Kendall Blanton’s. That’s a great recognition for those guys, but it’s also a great reflection of (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his group, our coaches ability to develop guys. You could talk about what an amazing addition (OLB) Von (Miller) and both (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) have been and how instrumental they’ve been of kind of raising the level of play and being able to solidify certain spots that have made us that much better on defense with Von and offense with Odell. You look at Eric Weddle, the addition of that the last couple weeks—what an amazing job. I think his rapport with (S) Nick Scott has allowed Nick Scott to take his game to a different level. I think to get yourself in a position like this, you have to have great players. You have to have everybody pulling the rope in the same direction, and I think you have to stack a lot of good decisions on top of one another where they work out in your favor. And I think that’s what you’ve seen work out. It’s all about the people. That’s been the key thing is we’ve added great people that are very talented football players, and they want to go try to do everything in their power to win for the players that they care about in that locker room, the love that they have for one another. I think you could feel that with the way that this team has come together at the right moments this last month or so.”

Photo/Image Credit: Los Angeles Rams

(On what the Bengals have done this year, what about them impresses him, and how they’ve turned around the organization)…“We’re just diving into these guys, so to say anything schematically would be difficult. I’ve watched him from afar and we’ve crossed over with him a little bit. But I think when you just look at the three years with Zac, I think it’s a great testament to the consistent approach to a process, a commitment to a philosophy, and then you get the right guys at the key spots and how instrumental that can be in flipping the switch and flipping the narrative. Obviously, (Bengals QB Joe) Burrow’s been outstanding. I thought they’ve made some key additions in the draft with their skill players. (Bengals QB) Joe Mixon has always been a really good runner, but you look at the impact that (Bengals WR) Tee Higgins has had, obviously (Bengals WR) Ja’Marr Chase has been phenomenal. (Bengals WR Tyler) Boyd is one of the more underrated players in this league. And he was on that roster prior to Zac getting there. But their core group of skill players has been phenomenal. Their line is – they’re tough, competitive. They’ve made some key additions in free agency, defensively. You look at some of the guys they added in the back end – really on both levels. They got rookie guys. They got young players that are really contributing, and then they’ve always been a really good special teams outfit. It’s going to be a tough matchup, but I’m looking forward to really being able to dive into it, probably have a little bit more specific answers for you over the next couple days.”

(On the biggest difference he sees in himself when he thinks back to LIII, this time three weeks ago up until now)…“I think it’s just experience. I think being able to learn from all those other things that have occurred. If you really work hard at something, I think you give yourself a chance to get better. But I also realize it’s about being surrounded by great people. We got great players. We got really good coaches. But I just think that experience that you accumulate – both the good and the bad, and use it as learning opportunities, and making sure that you try to do everything in your power to put our players in the right position, structure the week and practices and the game plans in a manner that’s reflective of accentuating these player skill sets, letting them go out and play with the quieted mind. But the experience thing I would say is the biggest difference.”

(On if he feels he’s more calm this time around being that he’s coaching in his second Super Bowl)
“Calm? I don’t know if ‘calm’ is ever a word that anybody would use to describe me. I would say that you’re more ‘comfortable’ is probably an appropriate word. But you also understand the urgency that’s required for us to go finish this. There’s a reason the Bengals have beat three excellent teams to get to this point in the playoffs. Just watching the grit, the toughness, the resolve – I think there’s a lot of similarities in both of our teams that have led us to this point and that’s why it’s going to be a great matchup.”

Photo/Image Credit: Los Angeles Rams

(On where he thinks the team’s mindset is at and his seemingly reserved demeanor against the 49ers)…“I would say this. I feel like the team’s in a really good place. Urgent enjoyment, it can be kind of that cliche thing, but you always want to have urgency. But I think we’re at our best when we’re enjoying the opportunity to go compete, play to the best of your abilities, and let the chips fall where they may – go cut it loose if you will. And (I) think we’ve done that. Our players have done that. They have embodied exactly what that is. I think they also understand the job’s not finished. This is a great accomplishment. You want to enjoy it. You want savor this, take it in. But understand that there’s one more step in this journey. We got one more box that we want to check, and we know it’s going to be a great challenge. We don’t have an opportunity to do that until February 13th, but we want to make sure that we’re in the moment, we take it a day at a time. And yesterday, I was just kind of – that was that was a back and forth. There was a lot of energy that was expended, and I was probably just more spent than anything else, but certainly very happy. I love these guys in the locker room, love these coaches. To be able to see those guys have those moments and share in that success with them is really one of the things that makes this so special. You can never recreate the emotion and the care that you have for those people when you go through something like what an NFL season entails. And I was just more worn out, but I’m certainly grateful and very excited about the next opportunity that we have.”

(On what makes WR Cooper Kupp such a good route runner and great after the catch)…“He’s been so special. I think he’s got great short space quickness. He’s got a great ability to be able to seamlessly work edges on people. I think one of the great traits of any receiver is they’re a great separator and he’s a great separator. And he doesn’t need a lot of space to be able to build up speed. He knows how to work an edge, get a guy off of his spot, and then be able to break one way or the other on a lot of these routes that we give him the ability to break in, break out, or snap down. And then, he’s strong. I mean, he’s got great contact balance. He’s got a great feel for the game, but he knows how to work edges on people. For the same reason that he’s a great separator, I think is why he’s so great after the catch. And he’s got great contact balance, all those things. Everything you’re saying – when you look at what makes guys that are great after the catch, he’s checking all those boxes. He’s got the traits and the characteristics, and I love the emotion that he played with. You look at the third and three conversion that he catches that end breaking route. I thought he was going to come out the back door, but when you see Cooper get that excited, that lifts everybody. And then you look at the block that he throws on (49ers S Jaquiski) Tartt on the next play. He was selling out. He’s been outstanding, but (he’s a) great separator and the contact balance and the overall strength is why he’s so special after the catch.”    –RAMS–

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